21 Lessons for the 21st Century

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21 Lessons for the 21st Century
21 Lessons for the 21st Century
AuthorYuval Noah Harari
Technology and civilization
Human beings
PublisherSpiegel & Grau, Jonathan Cape
Publication date
Published in English
30 August 2018
Preceded byHomo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow 

21 Lessons for the 21st Century is a book written by bestseller Israeli author Yuval Noah Harari and published in August 2018 by Spiegel & Grau[1] in the US and by Jonathan Cape[2] in the UK.

Having dealt with the distant past in Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (2011) and with the distant future in Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (2016), Harari turns in 21 Lessons his attention to the present. In a loose collection of essays, many based on articles previously published,[3] he attempts to untangle the technological, political, social, and existential quandaries that humankind faces.


The book has received significant media attention with articles and reviews published by The New York Times, The Economist,[4] Financial Times, The Guardian, The New Statesman and The Times among others.

In The New York Times Bill Gates calls the book “fascinating” and his author “such a stimulating writer that even when I disagreed, I wanted to keep reading and thinking.” For Gates, Harari “has teed up a crucial global conversation about how to take on the problems of the 21st century.”[5]

John Thornhill in Financial Times said that “[a]lthough 21 Lessons is lit up by flashes of intellectual adventure and literary verve, it is probably the least illuminating of the three books” written by Harari, and that many of the observations in it feel recycled from the two others.[6]

Helen Lewis review in The Guardian is not as glowing although she admires “the ambition and breadth of his work, smashing together unexpected ideas into dazzling observations.”[3]

The book has also received negative reviews. Gavin Jacobson in The New Statesman sees it as “a study thick with promise and thin in import” with advice “either too vague or too hollow to provide any meaningful guidance.” [7] In The Times, Gerard DeGroot writes: "The author of Sapiens is good at identifying the crises to come but his syrupy platitudes are no answer."[8]



  1. ^ Harari, Yuval Noah; Spiegel & Grau (2018). 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. ISBN 9780525512172.
  2. ^ Harari, Yuval Noah; Jonathan Cape (2018). 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. ISBN 9781787330672.
  3. ^ a b Lewis, Helen (15 August 2018). "21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari review – a guru for our times?". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  4. ^ "Big data is reshaping humanity, says Yuval Noah Harari". The Economist. 30 August 2018. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  5. ^ Gates, Bill (4 September 2018). "What Are the Biggest Problems Facing Us in the 21st Century?". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  6. ^ Thornhill, John (10 August 2018). "Are humans too flawed to survive the 21st century?". Financial Times. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  7. ^ Jakobson, Gavin (22 August 2018). "Yuval Noah Harari's 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is a banal and risible self-help book". The New Stateman. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  8. ^ DeGroot, Gerard (11 August 2018). "Review: 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari — nuclear war? Let's meditate instead". The Times. Retrieved 17 October 2018.